2012 NCAA Illinois vs. Michigan State
Illini snags a 42-41 victory over Spartans.
January 31, 2012
In front of 15,629 fans, Fighting Illini (16-6, 5-4) hold off Spartans (17-5, 6-3) with a super-slim 42-41 victory. Down the stretch both teams had a shot to win, but between free throws and shot selection, the game was decided by the clock.
Michigan State didn’t give up coming back from 6 when the Illini went cold. It was the play of Draymond Green that sparked the team late even though he had four fouls. Green made a jumper which gave the team the lead again at 36-35 with 5:03 left to play. Then Branden Dawson grabbed a big rebound and put it back, stretching the lead to three (40-37). But unfortunately, Green went down with a knee injury with a little more than 4 minutes left.
During this cold period for the Illini, it was Brandon Paul who stopped the bleeding slamming the ball threw the hoop with 3:50 to play.
“We just kept trying to stay positive,” Paul shared with us after the game. “I just kept fighting back and playing our game.”
From this point, it was lots of bad shot selections for both teams until Tracy Abrams nailed three-pointer to tie the game at 40 with 2:11 to play in regulation.
“Abrams seems to continue to play better in games than in practice for us,” Webber concluded.
Paul sealed the victory hitting two free throws with 45 seconds.
After the game and clearly frustrated, coach Izzo shared with us that “Branden Dawson played like a man tonight even though he was a little nicked up. It was hard fought game – one that is very disappointing and with my two best players not playing their best.”
As the final score illustrated, both teams shot well below their averages: Illinois shot 24.1% from the field and 21.4% from behind the arc; Michigan State shot 32.6% from the floor and 17.6% from downtown.
“Not a pretty game but I’m happy for our kids in this type of game.” coach Weber said. “This was a physical game and things stayed contained.”
Paul led all players with 19 points and 9 boards. The surprise scorer for the Illini was freshmen Myke Henry, who knocked down 6 including an easy put back to give the team the lead at the half.
Dawson led the Spartans with 12 and the team continued to crash the crash the boards. They were 49-32 of which 23 were offensive.
Maybe the Illini started a new homecourt winning streak after losing their previous one of 14 with the lost to Wisconsin January 22.
The Illinois / Michigan State series record is now 56-55, Illini.
NOTE: No update is available for Green’s injury at the time of this article.
Best quote after the game was shared by coach Weber joking “maybe we can get 50 in the next game.”
OTHER INFORMATION SURROUNDING THIS GAME…
Illinois is promoting Operation Blue-Out for Tuesday night’s game vs. Michigan State. All fans are encouraged to “wear blue to beat cancer” when the Illini and Spartans battle.
Coaches vs. Cancer Suits & Sneakers
Coach Weber and his assistants will be sporting Nikes on the Assembly Hall sidelines during the game against Michigan State, trading in dress shoes for the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Suits & Sneakers Awareness Weekend. Since Illinois had a road game and MSU had a bye last weekend, both coaching staffs are participating in the event Tuesday night.
Coaches vs. Cancer is a collaboration between the ACS and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Since 1993, the organization has raised more than $50 million for ACS. Coach Weber serves on the Coaches vs. Cancer national board and was recognized for his contributions and involvement with the program by receiving the Coaches vs. Cancer Champion Award in 2007. Weber also was one of four head coaches who traveled to Washington D.C. in 2010 to participate in a Capitol Hill rally, urging Congress to increase federal funding for cancer research and prevention programs.
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